Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Defence Minister Pervez Khattak called on Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leaders on Saturday and conveyed Prime Minister Imran Khan's message ahead of a no-trust vote against the premier.
Qureshi said after the meeting that today's meeting was part of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's efforts "to approach its allies".
The PML-Q, which has five seats in the National Assembly, is a key ally of the PTI in the centre as well as Punjab, and the opposition would require its votes in order for the no-trust move against the premier to succeed.
Consequently, the PML-Q has assumed much more importance over the past several days — since Pakistan Democratic Movement chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman formally announced last month the opposition's decision to file a no-confidence against PM Imran and after the motion was submitted with the National Assembly Secretariat on March 8.
In the days to follow, leaders from both the opposition and ruling PTI have approached the PML-Q, with each side vying for its support.
From the PML-Q, Punjab Assembly Speaker Parvez Elahi, his son and Water Resources Minister Moonis Elahi and Housing and Works Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema were present at today's meeting.
According to a statement issued by the PML-Q, Khattak and Qureshi conveyed PM Imran's message to the party's leaders. However, the statement did not elaborate on what the message was.
The statement further said Cheema apprised PTI ministers of difficulties being faced by his party over the past three and a half years.
For their part, the PTI ministers said PM Imran would be informed about the "situation" that Cheema had explained, according to the statement.
The statement also quoted Parvez Elahi as saying that PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain would be taken into confidence with regards to today's meeting and that the next meeting between the two sides would be held in Islamabad.
Following the meeting, Qureshi said that the meeting was "fantastic".
When asked by a reporter whether any "success has been achieved", the foreign minister replied, "Allah has never sent [us back] empty-handed."
Meanwhile, Khattak was asked whether PM Imran would be sent packing, to which he said, "God forbid that it happens."
'Drop scene not to happen now'
Prior to the meeting, Parvez Elahi remarked during an informal talk with media persons that the "drop scene of the drama ongoing in the country will not happen right now".
"The characters of the play will change," he commented.
He further said the politics of rallies would not have any effect on the no-trust motion.
The PML-Q leader was also asked about a cryptic remark he had made earlier this month, prior to the submission of the no-trust motion, regarding the opposition's plan to go ahead with their decision to submit a resolution for the prime minister's ouster.
Elahi had said at the time that "Ingredients are in the pot and I will speak on this after smoke rises after the first boil."
When a reporter referred to this comment today, Elahi said, "[Ingredients in the] pot are cooked. Half of these have been distributed and the rest is being distributed."
Asked about the PML-Q's future, Elahi said it was "bright".
In reply to a question about the possibility of former prime minister and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif returning to Pakistan, he commented: "The medicine to cure the disease of those abroad is not here yet."
The recent meeting between leaders of the PTI and PML-Q — which is yet to come clean on whom it would be supporting on the no-trust move — has taken place as the PTI intensifies its efforts to win back its allies in the government.
In this connection, Qureshi had telephoned Elahi yesterday and informed him that a ruling party delegation would meet Q-League leaders in Lahore today.
With additional input from APP